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Saturday, November 10, 2012

New Honda Car Causes Frowns But Prevents Wrinkles

Honda Japan has released a car designed specifically for women— the new pink-colored Honda Fit special She's version. 

Although this pink Fit type is only being targeted to women in the Japanese market, it has women elsewhere throwing a fit of disgust.

While I don't want to completely come to the rescue of Honda (you make your bed - you lie in it), but Honda Japan is marketing a vehicle geared for its own Japanese female market - and specifically for a segment of that market. Whether or not that works is debatable, but that is their business and good luck to them.

Meanwhile, I've read more than a few articles in national newspapers deriding Honda's efforts - and the fact that the derision is coming from women… well, it does bear listening too… even if it's all she said/she said and features ideologies of one country versus another.

The Honda Fit She's version was called "adult cute" in a press release from the company.

Here's what Lorraine Sommerfeld said in a November 7, 2012 article she wrote for The Globe and Mail newspaper:

"Described in releases as “adult cute” (whatever that is), I suppose it could be good, for me, a modern woman, to have a place to put my Hello Kitty purse as I drove around – no doubt lost – in a vehicle conveniently shaped like an A cup breast to remind everyone of my gender."
Me-ow! Saucer of milk for Table 12, please. Now that's sarcasm Lorraine! Of course… this is a perfectly acceptable reaction from what I assume is a 2012 North American woman.

Lorraine goes on to suggest that women are actually able to do research before purchasing a car, that they actually want a car they can trust.

"Fuel efficiency is big on our lists. We’re more likely to sweat over the basics, especially safety features, than be oversold a sound system. Some studies infer that because we make less money, we buy cheaper cars. I have another theory: many of us go into a showroom prepared to be ripped off, and already entrenched for combat because of that."
Yes, Lorraine. I hear you. Well said. People, regardless of gender, should do their research when purchasing any item.

And then there's my friend Emily, who is one of the most knowledgeable car people I know. She has her regular day job, but on the weekend, she's racing cars. She learned more about cars this morning than I have ever known. Let me tell you - she is nobody's fool, and was even kind enough to suggest this topic to me.

Would Emily be happy with Honda's cute little She's version of the Fit? Only if it had superior acceleration and braking power and torque - Emily loves torque! - to a Porsche Boxter. I have no idea what sort of car she would prefer - it changes - but despite being a woman (or in spite of), she has no interest in a cutey-patootie Fit She's.

I also know many women who have never learned to drive, and are chauffeured around by their husbands and/or boyfriends (don't tell the husband!).

Does NOT having a driver's license or car make these women less than modern? What about actually liking the cute look of the Honda Fit She's?

What western people - and western women especially tend to forget - is that not all countries share the same sensibilities as whatever country you are from.

Lorraine… this is Japan. Many modern Japanese women would be very happy to have a place to put their Hello Kitty purse as they drive around because they DO have a Hello Kitty purse.

Hey… I'm not saying Honda is right in offering a female version of the Fit… but I bet it might sell well in Japan where it is being solely marketed.

Is it Honda's responsibility to raise the level of the woman in Japan by being more responsible?

Sure… but no one else in Japan is… and the Japanese women themselves don't seem to be staging a major revolution themselves. They are, but they aren't.

And hell, who's kidding whom… I'm sure there is still a disparity in wages et al between women and men in North America and Europe.

But, on a global scale… is Honda's creation of a woman's version of the Fit a bad thing? It ain't great?
But, on a national scale in Japan… it COULD be brilliant marketing… or it could fall flat.

Have you ever seen a woman driving a Ford F-150 or Dodge Ram pick-up truck? Women do, of course, but advertising tends to show men - and manly men only - in these vehicles lifting and towing and bouncing over tough terrain. If a woman is there in the advertising, more often than not… hell… I'm not sure I've ever seen a woman in a commercial for these trucks.  

But… Lorraine, to her credit, just doesn't like the fact that this car is marketed based on gender and does mention that one American car company did try to market specifically to women - twice.

The Dodge La Femme came from Chrysler Corporation's Dodge division in 1955 and 1956.
Dodge La Femme - 1955
The 1955 La Femme interiors were upholstered in a special tapestry material featuring pink rosebuds on a pale silver-pink background and pale pink vinyl trim. The La Femme came with a keystone-shaped, pink calfskin purse containing a face-powder compact, lipstick case, cigarette case, comb, cigarette lighter and change purse.

On the back of the drivers seat was a compartment that contained a raincoat, rain bonnet and umbrella, all made from a vinyl patterned to match the rosebud interior fabric.

And… lest we continue to poke an accusing finger at Japan for being chauvinistic—it is—I suppose you have all seen the 'women's version of clothing for your favorite sports teams… pink jerseys. Because nothing says you support your team than wearing a shirt with the wrong colors:
And I'm not talking about shirts and other merchandise that supports Breast Cancer awareness et al! Look at me… don't I look cute in my sports jersey? I don't care that it's not the right colors for the Montreal Canadians… I love hockey and I love pink.

Look… all Honda has done is market a car for women in Japan because they feel that Japanese women might want a special car. Hell… the Japanese auto industry certainly has many manufacturers who actually make cars for women, like every single one of those toy cars in pastel colors back in the 1990s.

You have to know your market.

Unlike other countries around the world, Japanese women like to dress up as cute little girls and act like cute little girl's because they think that Japanese men like the cute little girl-look. I don't, but whatever. I'm not Japanese. And… I certainly don't think that every Japanese person thinks that way. But many do. Hence this marketing ploy by Honda.

Here's some actual data on the She's. Honda is looking to target the nearly 50 per cent of Japanese women who are not in the work force. (Shocking, eh Lorraine) and are housewives. Housewives need a car to get around, so a small, inexpensive car in a girlie color is perfect - because many Japanese women want to look cute or give the impression that they are cute.

The car has pink exterior paint (though it is also available in brown and white - two colors Honda believes will complement a Japanese woman's eye shadow), pink stitching on the interior and pink chrome covers on the dashboard.

Of special interest to Japanese women is the fact that the Fit She's utilizes a new type of windshield which blocks up to 99 per cent of ultraviolet rays—so now they don't have to worry about those annoying wrinkles appearing when you go out to buy your husband that Cup o Ramen noodles he thinks you make from scratch.

Honda also says the Fit She's (the apostrophe uses a kawaii/cute heart in place of the apostrophe) has something called the Plasmacluster AC (air-conditioning) system that provides specially-treated air designed to treat and improve the skin as they drive. Why is this not standard on every car?! What is my AC system doing to my beautiful skin? I'm hideous and no longer cute! 

Oh well... personally... I think the Honda Fit She's is a very naughty car and it needs a spanking.

Somewhere wondering if She's a good Fit?
Andrew Joseph

6 comments:

  1. IMO, buying used cars are smarter than buying a brand new though it has a more advantage. But I think when you bought a used cars you already know that will drive perfectly just the way you want it.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kyoko. Thank you for writing in. Actually, when buying a used car, you don't know if it will drive perfectly. Two years ago I bought a car that looked perfect, but immediately the engine seized up, hoses blew and I killed $3000 after three months. The current car is also used, and aside from the AC never working, it drives perfectly. The difference between a SAAB and a Mazda (the one I still have), I suppose.
      New cars - they still have a warranty. I've had three new cars - and they have all been perfect: Mazda 323, Toyota Camry, and a Hyundai Tiburon.
      Cars - you never know what you will get, though I do know plenty of people who bought a new car, and it sucked.
      Thanks again for taking the time to write in.
      But... would you buy a Honda Fit She's?

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  2. Hi Andrew,

    Actually, I have heard a lot of complain about buying and importing used cars online. That's why in my opinion its better if you are going to research about the company or person that you are dealing with so that as a customer you will be assured that you get the best car of your choice.

    I just said that its smarter to buy a used car because as a customer like me that doesn't have "a lot of money" to spend for car its a great deal to find a used car that runs in a good condition. I'm not into speed actually :)

    HOnda Fit She's a good car I would say. Small car are quite fuel efficient but I'm happy right now on my Honda Civic :)

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    Replies
    1. hey Kyoko - thanks for clarifying... I don't have a lot of money either - used cars have been the norm since 2000 for me.
      I'm no longer into speed. I drive an SUV in the slow lane when I have my son in the car. Oh, how the mighty have fallen!
      Cheers!

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  3. It was certainly interesting for me to read that article. Thanx for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read more on that blog soon.

    1998 Honda Civic Headlights

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  4. I just stated that its more brilliant to purchase an utilized auto on the grounds that as a client such as me that doesn't have "a great deal of cash" to use for auto its an extraordinary bargain to discover an utilized auto that runs as a part of a great condition. I'm not into velocity really.

    ReplyDelete